angat angat sambhavasi hrdayad abhijayase |
atma vai putranamasi sa jiva saradah satam || 
To make a "Green Earth" the above verse of Agnipurana makes a request to mankind to plant trees instead of cutting them and let them grow and increase. Besides it reveals the importance of trees. Plants play an important and vital role in human life. Directly or indirectly plants are connected with the life of man, and apart from that life cannot be imagined.
Their relationship with mankind is pertinently observed in the Puranas. From every angle, the Puranas have discerned and discussed the utility and importance of the plant kingdom to human society. Included are the Agni Purana, the Kurma Purana, the Matsya Purana, the Brahma Vaivartta Purana, the Garuda Purana, the Vayu Purana, etc. The Vayu Purana clearly states that all basic necessities of a man, viz. garments, ornaments, timber for house building, fruits, dyes, honey etc. are available from plants. 
The Puranas severely criticize the unnecessary cutting of trees and prescribe the punishments for this prohibited act. In Agni Purana it is said –
tarumsca cchedayed yasca vrksan cchayasusitalan
asipatravane ghore pidyate yamakimkaraih 
In order to protect the trees from the wood cutters' hand, there is some threatening made by the authors of Skanda Purana, according to whom cutting of trees may lead one to the hell.
nagaropavane vrksan pramadaddhi cchinnati yah
sa gacchen narakam nama jrmbhanam
Ancient people were conscious of plantation, by thinking of its preciousness. To encourage plantation, Matsya Purana said that by planting a single tree one can reside in heaven for 30,000 years of Indra. Not only this, the planter may have the moksha, i.e., end of rebirth.
yascaikam api rajendra vrksam samsthapayen narah
so' pi svarge vased rajan yavad indrayuta trayam
bhutan bhavyamsca manujams trayed drumasammitan
paramam siddhim apnoti punaravrttidurlabham 
Agni Purana also glorifies in other words how: "Planting of trees brings moksha.  Again it is said that a tree never betrays anyone, rather that it always remains helpful at all times. They are never harmful even as a son, who at times do harm to their parents out of greed for property.
"pitaram nopahimsanti druma dravinalobhatah 
Agni Purana encourages becoming a lover of tree. It gives more emphasis on planting a tree by analyzing its necessity – that to have a better life, one should plant a tree and should take care of it like one's own son. Because trees are more precious and useful than a son, who are self-seekers by nature and never follow the scriptures, i.e. –
tasmat subhavaha vrksa ropyah sreyobhivanchata
putravat paripalyasca te putra dharmatah smrtah.
kim dharmavimukhair martyaih kevalam
taruputra varam ye tu pararthaikanuvrttayah 
Plantation is not the only work; care should be taken for their protection by not cutting them down. Therefore, Puranas made some prohibitions against the cutting of some particular trees, i.e. Asvattha, Vata or banyan, Bilva or wood apple tree, Udumbara or fig etc. by connecting them with some religious ethics.
asvattha vatavrksasca na cchettavyo kadacana
na cchettavyo bilvavrksodrum barasca kadacana
karmanyascaiva ye vrksa na cchettavya
The regretful factor is that the modern people are not conscious regarding the value of plants and plantation like the ancient people. Though the population and their needs are rising tremendously, still then they are cutting down the trees carelessly and destroying the forests with their full efforts, only to maintain their luxurious lives. Now-a-days considering the importance of trees the authorities launch plans for afforestation, viz. plantation on the road-side and celebration of Vanamahotsava, etc. but due to lack of proper care those plans become unsuccessful.
After plantation, care should be taken to grow them up properly. There are so many illustrations in Puranas in this regard. According to some passages of Agni Purana; planting trees is not very difficult work. But after plantation, right care should be taken to allow them to grow properly by protecting them from the heat of the sun, from animals as well as from the insects. Besides, plenty of water and fertilizers should be supplied at due times.
The Puranas supplied a lot of ideas about the plantation of saplings with a right distance and the use of fertilizers for them. Those passages are:-
pravesayen nadivahan puskarinya tu karayet
sayam pratastu gharmarttau sitakale dinantare
uttamam vimsatir hasta madhyam sodosantaram
sthanat sthanantaram karyam vrksanam dvadasavaram
viphalah syur ghana vrksah sastrenadau hi sodhanam
vidanga ghrtapamkaktan secayecchitavarina
grtasitapayahsekah phalapuspaya sarvada
matsyambhasa tu sekena vrddhir bhavati sakhinah 
avikajaskrccurnam yavacurnam tilani ca
gomamsamudakanceti saptaratram nidhapayet
utsekam sarvavrksanam phalapuspadivrddhidam
matsyodakena sitena amranam seka isyate
prasastam capyasokanam kaminipadatadanam
kharjuranarikelader lavanadbhir vivardhanam
vidamngamatmyamansadbhih sarvesam dohadam
Therefore the people should be alert to learn from the Puranas about different aspects of the plantation and their protection and should let them grow properly by which lives may be wholesome and comfortable on this earth, not only for the human beings but for all the living entities.
1. Mahabharata I, 68,
62, vide the Mahabharata Adiparvan edited by
Vishnu S. Sukthanakar, Vol. I, Bhandarkar Oriental
Research Institute, Poona, 1993, P.309. The first
two lines are found in the
Brhadaranyakopanisad also. But there it refers
to semen, vide Bh.U. (op.cit) 6.4.9.,9.457.
2. Purna Chandra Ojha, Flora in the Bhagavat
Purana, Unpublished Ph.D. Thesis of Utkal
University, 2010, P.159.
3. Cf. "indhanartham asuskanam drumancaiva
patanam" – Agnipurana, edited by Baladev
Upadhyaya, Kasi Sanskrit Series No.174. The
Chaukhamba Skt. Series Office, Varanasi, 1964.
4. Vide, SKD Vol.IV, 1961, p.476.
5. Vide, The Matsyapuranam, Part-I, forwarded by
H.H. Wilson, arranged by Nag Sharan Singh, First
edition, Nag Publishers, Delhi, 1983, Ch. LIX,
6. Cf. "pratistham padapanam ca vaksye'ham
bhuktimuktidam" and "papanasah parat siddhir
Agnipuranam of Maharsi Vedavyasa, edited by
Baladev Upadhyaya, Kasi Skt Series, No.174. The
Chaukhamba Skt. Series Office, Varanasi, 1964.
Ch.70, Verse Nos. 1ab and 8cd.
7. Vide, SKD, p.476.
8. Vide, SKD, p.476.
9. Varahapurana Ch.126.
10. AP, p.416.
11. Ibid p.360.
Source: Orissa Review